Bertha of Val d'Or

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See also: Bertha of Kent
Saint Bertha of Val d'Or
Virgin and Martyr
Born unknown
Died 690
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Canonized Pre-Congregation
Feast 1 May
Patronage against insanity

Saint Bertha, Abbess of Val d'Or, near Avenay, Reims, d. c. 690.

Bertha was the wife of Saint Gumbert, Lord of Champenois, a nobleman of royal blood. Gumbert built a nunnery for his wife and her maidens at Avenay, and retired himself to a monastery on the coast, where he was soon afterwards put to death by pagan marauders.

A legend is that when the people of Avenay suffered from a lack of water, St. Peter appeared to Bertha and showed her a field where there was a good spring which she bought for a pound of silver. It became a holy well which was believed to cure diseases and it supplied both her own nuns and the hamlet of Avenay with water. Bertha was martyred by Gumbert's relatives, who were indignant at the distribution of his money to the poor.

Whether the abbey founded at Avenay followed the Benedictine Rule or the Columban Rule is unknown, even to her main biographer. The whole legend, in fact, is very late and unreliable. St. Bertha's feast is on 1 May.


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Bertha". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.